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Alan Cubbage to retire as Vice President for University Relations

Stepping down after 21 years of service, leading Northwestern communications into the digital age

EVANSTON - Alan K. Cubbage, who led Northwestern University’s communications operations into the digital age and served as the institution’s public voice through 21 years of dedicated service, announced Tuesday he is retiring as Vice President for University Relations this summer.

Alan Cubbage
Alan K. Cubbage

During those years, Cubbage was the University’s principal spokesman, and he guided the transition of Northwestern’s communications from traditional print media to digital communications, including creating the first web communications office as part of University Relations. He oversaw the creation of the early versions of the University’s main website and developed the first electronic newsletters for alumni and for students, faculty and staff.

A search committee is being formed to seek a successor to lead the Department of Global Marketing and Communications at Northwestern.

During his tenure, Cubbage has directed Northwestern’s print publications, internal communications, the Northwestern alumni magazine and all media relations efforts, including crisis communications and emergency communications. He also oversaw the celebration of the University’s Sesquicentennial, its 150th anniversary, in 2000-01.

Cubbage will continue his teaching role as an adjunct lecturer in the Medill School of Journalism’s undergraduate Integrated Marketing Communications program. He also is a speaker at conferences on topics ranging from crisis communications to effective use of online communications.

Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro noted his personal and direct working relationship with Cubbage and observed, “Throughout my presidency, Al has been a trusted colleague, partner and friend. I rely deeply on his wisdom, judgment and commitment to the University. It is hard to imagine working without Al beside me. I am grateful for his contributions and will miss Al a great deal.”

The office of Global Marketing and Communications and the Department of University Relations were merged last year. The new vice president will oversee all of Northwestern’s marketing and communications efforts, including branding, web communications, media relations, publications, strategic communications, internal communications and Northwestern magazine.

Mary Baglivo, former Vice President for Global Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer, who led the University’s global marketing functions, left the University earlier this academic year.

Robert McQuinn, Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development, will chair the search committee seeking candidates for a new Vice President for Global Marketing and Communications.

“I will be reaching out immediately to staff, faculty and trustees to serve on the search committee,” McQuinn said. “We are looking for people with insights about the University’s extraordinary opportunities in marketing and communications.”

“I am grateful for the strong platform enabled by the work of Al Cubbage and Mary Baglivo that now positions us to find our next leader for Northwestern’s global marketing and communications operations,” President Schapiro said. “They have assembled a talented group of professionals who will continue their work to make Northwestern even better."